The previous issue of Contact ( June 1996,
vol. 7 no.2 page 17) carried an article about Paedophilia
in Goa. A form was included in the issue asking for
support in a signature campaign. Your response has been
overwhelming! Readers of Contact were responsible for
5,604 of the 9,338 signatures collected in the UK. Besides,
the UK effort more than trebled the Canadian contribution.
we go to Press, the arrangements are in hand for presenting
the signatures to the Chief Minister of Goa. We (the Goan
Internet Community) will also be holding a Press Conference
in Sweden on the occasion of the World Congress against
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. 27-31 August
1996. Over 1.000 delegates will be at the Congress that
will be opened by Queen Silvia of Sweden. In July this year
she provoked a political storm by demanding publicly that
the local laws be tightened after a Swede who was recently
charged with committing paedophile offences in Goa has so
far been able to avoid extradition.
In Sweden we will have the support of: Alfred Tavares, a Goan journalist
based in Sweden who will represent us there. Ron O'Grady, head of EPCAT (End
Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism), Julia O'Connery Davidson, Reader in
Sociology at Leicester University whose has recently completed a first-hand
study of Paedophilia in Goa which will be launched at the Swedish Congress
and Sheela Barse, Child's Rights activist based in Bombay whose
determination led to the conviction of Freddy Peat.
have been some additional developments in the battle: to
curb paedophilia. Besides the Swede mentioned above, three
other people have been charge-sheeted for child sex offences
in Goa after investigations by Interpol and the CBI. The
British Government has softened its attitude with regard
to bringing to book its nationals who commit such offences
abroad. It now favours extradition arrangements rather than
demanding that the accused be tried in this Country. The
problem in Goa has been highlighted in various places and
two of these deserve mention. In June, Renovacao (Renewal)
the official Pastoral Bulletin of the Archdiocese of Goa
carried an Editorial headlined "Stop Child Sex Trade:"
To quote: "The initiative for a massive petition seems
to have originated among Goans settled abroad, particularly
in Canada and England, who are worried and outraged by the
spread of this frightful scourge in their beloved land."
The issue also carried a petition form identical to the
one in Contact except that it had a local address for the
return of the signed sheets.
WEEK, a news magazine published in Kerala devoted 6
pages in the issue dated 4 Aug. to an article headlined:
"Sex Tourism -Goa's children are falling easy prey
to hordes of Western paedophiles."
to the UK Campaign. Mario Cabral e Sa in an article that
appeared in the Sunday Navhind Times noted the
Campaign being conducted by the Asian Chaplaincy in England.
He also mentioned the initiative of his friend Patrick D'Souza
who having read Contact, decided to form an organisation
called PAPA (People Against Paedophiles Abroad). Patrick
collected 475 signatures in the High Street of his Berkshire
had a massive response from Welling in Kent. Enquiries led
me to Sue D'Souza who collected 681 signatures. She did
most of her campaigning after Church services. There were
many other pockets of concentrations by Contact readers
- T. Fernandes of Rayleigh, Essex and Dr J. Fernandez in
Dublin come to mind but I am certain that there were many
more I have missed
thanks are due to Fr Andrew Fernandes, the Chaplain for
generating the publicity, Francisco D'Souza, the Editor
of Contact for extending deadlines and the untiring Robert
D'Souza for dealing with the problems.
Campaign was publicized elsewhere within the UK. The West
London Goans Newsletter devoted most of the issue to
paedophilia in Goa and carried the petition form. The Secretary
of the Association, Margaret Braganza and Editor Antonetta
Mankoo were responsible for the publicity. One of their
readers, Tessy D'Souza who works for an UK airline is undoubtedly
the Champion collector. She gathered 1,764 signatures from
as far afield as Canada and Australia. Regulations did not
permit her to approach passengers with the form but she
took one wherever she went - hotels, buses, churches, shops,
etc. She found it a tremendously moving and uplifting experience.
signature petition was promoted widely at Goan Community
religious, social and sports events –including Siolim,
Aldona, Benaulim, Calangute, Sangolda BBQ and Tivim socials;
Holy Land and Aylesford pilgrimages; youth disco; football,
hockey and card games. Josephine Fernandes of the Benaulim
Association produced 409 signatures and Save Goa Campaign,
Standing Committee of Goan Organizations (SCOGO) sponsored
the Petition Campaign at their Festival on 14 July 1996
that was attended by over 1,800 people. Daryl Pereira mounted
an exhibition of some Press cuttings and presented a computer-assisted
display of the Campaign. A team of volunteers collected
signatures from the assembled crowds. Anthony D'Souza the
Chair of SCOGO and Juliette de Menezes, the Secretary played
a special role in making this possible. The West London
Goans paid the printing costs of these petition forms.
there were the Champions from other countries. Tobias Kollmann
and Inez Vincent organised a petition drive among staff
and students of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine,
Bronx, New York and sent in 564 signatures.
deliberately we made no attempt to collect any funds during
the Campaign. The package of signatures had to be delivered
quickly and safely to Goa. The costs of doing so were met
by DHL, after being approached by Rabi Martins. It would
appear that with this issue, everyone is eager to help!
The children of Goa thank you.
(From: Contact, London, September 1996, vol.7 no.3.)